Fallen soldiers honored during a Memorial Day weekend wreath laying at the Ohio Statehouse
State leaders, veterans, school children and others gathered on the Veterans Plaza at the Ohio Statehouse on Friday to pay their respects to fallen soldiers.
It was part of an annual Memorial Day weekend wreath laying ceremony.
This year, LCpl. Jonathan Etterling was honored by his father, William Etterling. Jonathan, a U.S. Marine from Wheelersburg, Ohio, was deployed to Iraq and his battalion was attached to the 31 Marine Expeditionary Unit with whom he battled insurgents in Fallujah for five months.
He and the expeditionary unit were being transported west to assist with the elections held the last week of January when the CH53E helicopter he was in crashed in Al Rutbah on Jan. 25, 2005. Etterling's father told the crowd Jonathan was a person of faith who went out of his way to help others. And he became emotional as he told a story about one of the ways Jonathan Etterling helped others.
"To give you an example of how big his heart was, there was a Christmas when he was a junior and a family that was in need had called. And I unfortunately didn't have the means to help them at the time. They needed $1,200. And Jonathan was in his room playing a game while I was on the phone and he could hear the regret in my voice as I hung up. And he asked me, 'What time is it?' And I said, 'It's almost five o'clock,' and he said 'Let me get my shoes on.' And I said 'Why? What's that got to do with it?' He said, 'The bank is going to close at 5.' And, once again, I said, 'What's that got to do with it?' and he said, 'I've got $1,200. Those people need it. And we eat well.' And he gave them the money," William Etterling said.
Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said Ohioans need to take time this holiday weekend to remember those who have paid the ultimate price for freedom.
“We are all truly blessed. We’re blessed to live in the land of liberty, the land of opportunity but we know that those blessings do not come without costs," DeWine said.
DeWine and other state leaders laid a wreath for fallen soldiers on the Veterans Plaza at the Statehouse, and he’s ordered the flags there to be at half-staff during the Memorial Day weekend.